Largely out of public view in the week since his resignation, Petraeus was whisked into private meetings with lawmakers Friday amid the sort of clandestine atmosphere that befits a spy. A network of underground hallways was used to smuggle the retired general into a secure room beneath the Capitol to escape a clamorous crowd of photographers and television cameras. Police closed down entire corridors in the Capitol.
Members of Congress said the arrangements were designed to spare Petraeus embarrassment and humiliation. Before the scandal, he famously cultivated personal relationships with journalists and walked through the front door of the Capitol and greeted reporters when visiting Congress.
After more than four hours, Petraeus left the Capitol much the way he entered and was seen departing in a two-vehicle motorcade. About 20 minutes later, The Associated Press photographed Petreaus entering his home — one of the only public images of him since he resigned.
In separate briefings with members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, Petraeus discussed the September attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead. He did not discuss his adultery with Broadwell, except to say that he regretted his behavior and that his departure was unrelated to the deadly violence in Libya.
“He was very clear his resignation was tied solely to his personal behavior,” said Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “He was apologetic and regretful but still Gen. Petraeus.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Senate committee, apologized to reporters and photographers for the stringent security.
“I know that’s rankling you,” Feinstein said. “We didn’t want to make it any more difficult for him. And you know, you people aren’t always the easiest. So the blame is on us. Any waiting that you did, I apologize, but, you know, there’s a lot of suffering going on.”